The headline says “Every Bottle Makes a Difference.” Ethos water, acquired by Starbucks in 2005 distributes .05¢ from each $1.80USD bottle sold ($.10 per unit in Canada) to fund clean water projects in under-developed areas. Although sales of Ethos water have raised over $4,000,000 for clean water efforts, and the marketing positioning suggests clearly that purchase of this water will make the lives better for people who make less per week than the cost of the bottle itself, the brand is not a charity organization. 94% of the sale price does not support clean-water projects, but rather the Starbucks bottom line. “So what?” you might say, “Starbucks is giving back.” The founders of Ethos say the brand is intended to raise awareness of third-world clean water issues and provide socially responsible consumers with an opportunity to support the cause by choosing Ethos over other brands. After all, nearly 2/3 of the people on the planet do not have access to clean water, and as global population increases, sources are becoming fewer and fewer.
There is no doubt that the money and awareness Ethos raises is (more…)